3D failure: BBC abandoning 3D after broadcast trial meets viewer apathy

Jul 5, 2013
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3D failure: BBC abandoning 3D after broadcast trial meets viewer apathy

3D television has effectively been a failure, the BBC has conceded, revealing that it plans to take at least a three year break from creating 3D content after a current two-year pilot finishes at the end of 2013. "I have never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK" Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC's 3D chief, confirmed to the Radio Times, despite the UK broadcaster experimenting with various types of entertainment, sport, natural history, and more in 3D.

According to Shillinglaw, viewing figures for some of the highest-profile 3D content the BBC has broadcast have been middling at best. The Olympics Opening Ceremony, for instance, was expected to be a 3D draw, but in fact only an estimated 750,000 people watched it in the newer format, or around half of 3D TV owners in the UK.

Even that could be considered a success in relation to other failed 3D projects. The broadcast of the 2012 Queen's Speech on Christmas Day in 3D pulled in under 5-percent of the total potential viewers, the BBC 3D chief admitted.

According to Shillinglaw - whose normal job is head of science and natural history, the department responsible for Walking with Dinosaurs 3D - the issue with 3D TV is that it's simply too much hassle for too little in the way of rewards.

"Watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home. You have got to find your glasses before switching on the TV" she theorized. "I think when people watch TV they concentrate in a different way. When people go to the cinema they go and are used to doing one thing – I think that’s one of the reasons that take up of 3D TV has been disappointing."

Other UK broadcasters, such as Sky, are yet to comment on their longer-term 3D plans, though Shillinglaw suggests that the overall impact of the recession could have limited the number of TVs in the wild. How that fits in with low viewership figures among even those who have the necessary technology remains unexplained.

3D was, following the "High Definition" gold-rush, the TV industry's next big call-to-upgrade; however, it has failed to have the same impact as 1080p. Last month, ESPN announced it would be shutting down its 3D channel after a lack of adoption. Next up is Ultra HD, the new buzzword in home entertainment, though manufacturers will have to bring prices of the high-resolution sets down before the mass-market will consider them.

VIA The Next Web


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